Hurricane season started on June 1, 2014, and will end officially on November 30, 2014. Take action now if you haven’t already to make sure your business (and personal life) are not disrupted long term.
1. Seek out your parish/county and state evacuation plans and preparedness recommendations for Hurricanes.
Understanding what your parish or county and state will or may do and/or expect leading up to and during a Hurricane are vital in the protection of your family and your business. There are recommended and mandatory evacuations. There are curfews. In some circumstances after a storm, government entities can require passes (which must be pre-applied for) for reentry into an area. Being prepared for these events can help you and your employees.
2. Gather contact information for each employee.
Even if you have contact information for each employee, now is a good time to update and confirm that information. Be sure to get a non-work email and the contact information of another person who will be able to contact them if for some reason you are unable. Once this information is gathered, maintain a copy with your records and make sure each department head has a copy of the information.
3. Establish task assignments and closures based on the issuance of hurricane watches, warnings, etc.
It is important to have at least one person designated as the primary “news” gatherer. It is their responsibility to ensure that they are abreast of the latest coordinates as well as local, state and any national releases concerning the weather event.
In the event of a Hurricane watch, it is important to determine what steps need to be taken in order to prepare the business as well as allow employees and yourself ample time to prepare their personal effects. In the event of a Hurricane warning, you need to determine if it is necessary and appropriate to have essential staff evacuate closer to the business and/or evacuate to the same destination.
4. Disseminate a contingency plan in case of evacuation or loss of power.
Battle planning the what-ifs are so important during Hurricane season. Will employees work from home, evacuation sites, or satellite locations during the evacuation? If there is a pay period during the evacuation, how will this be handled?
As we all know, power loss is likely in the event of a hurricane. Is your business prepared for this event? Do you have or need a back-up power supply? Have you remembered to care for all computer and electronic equipment as part of your preparedness plan?
5. Establish a communication system and back-up to use before, during and after the hurricane.
Knowing that your employees and your business are secure in the event of an evacuation is important and determining what information you need from each employee in advance of evacuations is key. Should the employee send an email to a pre-determined emergency address when they reach their evacuation destination? Should the employee check in periodically throughout the evacuation? Will you or one of your managers update a particular website or send out emails to keep the company informed and alerted to information necessary during the evacuation. How will employees be notified of the status of the company and when to return to work.
For more information on emergency preparedness, visit:
In Alabama, visit State of Alabama Emergency Management at http://ema.alabama.gov/preparedness.cfm.
In Florida, visit State of Florida Division of Emergency Management at http://www.floridadisaster.org/index.asp.
In Louisiana, visit State of Louisiana Governor’s Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness at http://www.getagameplan.org/.
In Mississippi, visit State of Mississippi Emergency Management Agency at http://www.msema.org/.
In Tennessee, visit the State of Tennessee Emergency Management Agency at http://www.tnema.org/ReadyTN/index.html.